Lesotho has the third highest HIV/AIDs adult prevalence in the world with just under 1 in 4 people living with HIV. Of all the countries with HIV prevalence greater than 1%, Lesotho has the largest percentage of children who have lost one or both parents. For 68% of all OVC, HIV/AIDS is the major factor causing orphanhood and vulnerability. Many of these children live in places that are either indecent, unhygienic or overcrowded after the losing their parents. Further, about 68% of the Lesotho’s population lives in households defined as poor with unhealthy conditions ranging from overcrowded homes, unsanitary conditions, and exposed elements. Many orphaned Basotho children lack a safe place to call home. Land ownership issues in Lesotho have also contributed to the woes faced by OVCs in the country. Many of them have been victims of property/land grabbing leaving them in desperate need of shelter.
About 68% of the Lesotho’s population lives in households defined as poor with unhealthy conditions…
HFH Lesotho’s VGH programme works with OVCs and their families to address their needs for decent and clean shelter. The programme is keen on providing long term and sustainable solutions to its beneficiaries by providing holistic support to selected families. The programme ensures that beneficiaries receive support needed to better their lives and eventually work their way out of absolute poverty.
Under this programme, HFH Lesotho builds simple yet durable two-room houses with concrete blocks and roofed with corrugated iron sheets. A ventilated pit latrine is constructed to improve sanitation.
Additionally, HFH Lesotho advocates for security of tenure and initiates ownership processes for OVC households to ensure they legally own the land before HFH Lesotho builds a house for them. Local authority committees working with HFH Lesotho are instrumental in assisting OVC households to legally own land where HFH Lesotho builds.
Since HFH Lesotho’s programme goal is to transform communities, beneficiary families and their communities are further empowered under this programme through various training. Training on hygiene, home maintenance and inheritance rights are provided to all beneficiary families served through VGH projects and, in many cases, to community members who may not have been direct beneficiaries of the house. House maintenance training ensures that the houses provide long-term shelter for the families. The knowledge gained through the inheritance rights training has seen an increased number of wills registered in various HFH Lesotho’s projects. It also safeguards the OVC family interests leading to reduced cases of property grabbing in the unfortunate event of death of the OVC caregivers.
In all interventions, HFH Lesotho works in close collaboration with the Government of Lesotho, development partners and NGOs as well as local organizations to address needs of OVC families that more often extend beyond the need for decent shelter. This way, an all-round approach to addressing the needs is adopted while ensuring community ownership of projects is prioritized.
Neo was selected as a beneficiary for a new two-room house with complete sanitation facilities.
Three years ago, Neo Ralejoe lost his parents, leaving him under the care of his uncle Ramosa who was also orphaned. The two lived in their late parents’ dilapidated house but it was not long after that their house collapsed. The boys had to separate and live with different aunts afterwards.
Like many orphaned children in Lesotho, both boys faced the risk of being kicked out of their current homes as they had no security of ownership of the property. Through Habitat’s Lesotho OVC housing programme, Neo was selected as a beneficiary for a new two-room house with complete sanitation facilities and he could finally be reunited with Ramosa. Land was allocated for the construction of the new house and secured by the Master of the High Court on behalf of Neo. Habitat